The good, The bad & The ugly….

Depression is so rude isn’t it. The way it just shows up uninvited, waves over you, and slaps you around the face.  As if dealing with a major surgery isn’t big enough alone, but delivering it with a heap of depression and anxiety to, well thanks very much.

Do you ever wake up and just know it’s going to be a bad mental health day ?!  I felt really angry with my brain recently.  So I had a little word. It went like this. ” Not only do I give you a healthy break from the TV, I eat well, I read, I stay positive, I even meditate, and this is how you re-pay me?  With a gloomy feeling from my old enemy depression ?!  Ok, I’ve not lost it.  But after this little chat, I then realised, there had been a few patterns in my daily routine, that had lead me to this negative place.   Now more than ever, I realise just how much our daily routines effect our minds.  I’ve really had to make a conscious effort during this recovery, to take care of my mind, not just my body. And I can definitely feel the difference on the days I make those efforts, and those days that I don’t.

With any kind of recovery there are going to be some good, some bad, and some pretty ugly days. Two months post opp, I think I have now covered an array of these.  I previously wrote a post about preparing the mind, body and soul for surgery. Preparing your, Mind . Body . Soul.  But now sitting at 6 weeks post op, it’s a very different challenge sustaining a positive mind.  So I wanted to share a few of the things that I have been doing, to keep my mind, well… Well.  

For those going through post surgery, have a surgery coming up, are in a form of recovery, or for those who just suffer with glum days.  None of our situations may be exactly the same, but we are all healing, and we are all on our own paths, to self improvement. 

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First up;


Morning routine

This is a huge one for me. Start the day, how you want the rest of the day to follow.

Morning one – Wake up, scrolls on phone, scrolls on phone, eat cereal, scrolls on phone, watch TV, get dressed. 

11 am  feelings = Fed up. Tired.  Low mood.

Morning two – Wake up, stretch, open curtains, wash, get dressed, healthy breakfast, TV off, scroll on phone (15 minutes)….onto something productive.

11 am feelings =  Positive. Happy. Motivated.


Change things up.

 If like me your mobility is restricted at the moment, it sounds silly but change where you sit.  Six weeks of laying with your leg up in the same place can become very mundane. I now make sure I sit in different places, and change up my views. It’s amazing what this can do for your mind. I used to get told, take a different route to work from time to time, go by train instead of driving, and it works. Changing the small things up, can help your state of mind for the rest of the day more than you realise.  


Accept where you are.

From talking to others going through a similar recovery, the one word I have noticed we all throw around (including myself) is, ‘frustration’.  You didn’t want this injury, this physical hindrance,  you don’t want to be in that place. You want to be further along.  You should be further along.  See I was born with two legs out of alignment both are weak, sore and have dislocated too many times to remember. I am now healing from the surgery and have been guilty of  throwing around the words, ”Why can’t I have normal legs.”  I am grateful and lucky enough to not have had a life threatening surgery,  but sometimes frustration can get the better of us.  Accept where you are.  You can’t control everything about the healing process, but you can control how you feel, and where you go from here.


Make some small plans.

Being cooped up in recovery is tough on the mind, and there really is such a thing as Netflix and too much chill ! I’ve found making small plans for the day, keeps my mind more productive while I’m off work.  I planned to do a dinner party ( sounds like nothing, but with a stiff leg, on crutches, it’s an ordeal.) I planned to sort out my clothes drawers and de-clutter, sounds boring, but wow it feels good after doesn’t it. And of course just arrange to see people.  The little things make all the difference as we all know. Complete a 30 day self care challenge during recovery. Lets Start as we mean to go on…..


Get dressed.

Ok, you may not have anywhere to be, you don’t have a visitor today, who’s to impress….So what ?! Get out those damn, comfy pjs, and put on some normal people clothes.  I’v been pretty good at this, and on the couple of days I haven’t got dressed, I definitely felt a difference in my mood. It will give you a little more motivation to start your day.


Sleeping plan

First week or so after surgery, medication can make you feel drowsy and you may take naps, go ahead you have been through an ordeal let your body rest. But after this, if it’s just laziness, stop. Sleeping in the day time and staying up late at night, will only make you feel like utter rubbish. So keep your sleeping pattern strict, and the same as it was before. I am always tired, but I keep myself up till 9 pm ( wooo go me ) . The nights that I did stay up late, and slept in the day, were my lowest and most anxious days. So take note of how you feel and learn from the mistakes. 


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These are just a few of the things that I have noticed help my mind during recovery so far, the most.  You may have others that have helped you.  Our roads to recovery can seem long, bumpy, and no one person’s is the same.

The truth is we are all moving forward, day by day, it’s just hard to see at times. 

It takes time, patience and everything you’ve got.   

Happy Healing xXx

(Now……get out those pjs x ) 

 

 

Lazy Days, or Stuck in a rut ?

You may notice I tend to write a lot of positive posts, how to look after your mind, how to feel better, beating negativity etc etc.  Now, I don’t do this because I’m sitting here with ribbons in my hair, singing along to musicals.  But I write them because that’s what works for me. It keeps me motivated, allows me to check in with myself, and I like to think others like a positive read also.

But on the flipside, it’s ok to admit when we have shitty days.  We all have those days where every idea we had to be productive goes out the window.  The days where we say we will DEFINITELY be going to the gym, but instead we then spend the whole evening scrolling through ‘Andy from school’s photos,’ on social media. Because god forbid we don’t look through all those, even though we haven’t seen Andy for 8 years.  Or those days where you spend hours looking up healthy recipes and meal plans, to then just order a Dominoe’s. And we have all experienced times where we plan a productive ‘day off’, to then just watch TV all day and feel cross eyed by the end of it.

But then why not ?! We need those days! We are hardworking multi functioning humans, with a lot going on.  Our brains need that down time.  But it is when those days start to become our routine, bad habits creep in, and our planned ‘lazy days off’, leave us feeling unmotivated, with zero energy, or any feel good feelings at the end of them.   As I am currently off work on recovery from surgery, those days are easy to slip into, so after a 4 day stay over in ‘Rutsville’ I’m ready to find some balance again.

Knee surgery entails not a lot of going out, but also these cold months are inevitably the months many of us spend time indoors.  Our days off from work, we plan lazy days in, but this doesn’t mean those days can only be filled with TV and endless scrolling through social media every time your at home, leaving our brains feeling like mush by the end of them.  So I have devised a list of things to do for those during recovery, and for those feeling in a rut, who may want to add a little variation to their lazy days off.  Here we go.


Podcasts-

I’m nowhere near as dedicated to listening to podcasts as I would like to be, but once you get into one, it’s a really nice change from just staring at a TV.  They are entertaining and broaden your mind and a great night time listen, for those who don’t like reading. I am always looking for new podcasts to grab my attention, I’d recommend these old favourites;

Serial – An old one now, but still great, listen to a crime tale unwind, it had me hooked.

Ted Talks DailyInteresting, motivating and will broaden your mind. Pick any subject your interested in, and prepare to feel empowered.

Crime Town- I am currently listening to this as I write, working my way through this gripping documentary, for the ears.


Read –

I love to read, but I became better at ordering new books and then looking at them lovingly as they sit on my bookshelf. But I’m breaking that bad habit and my latest reads are;

The Kind Worth Killing- Peter Swanson-  I read this book in two days, crime thrillers as you might tell are my thing, if you’re looking for a psychological page turner, full of suspense and twists, this is the one. This is everything I hoped Girl on Train would be.

Happy- Fearne Cotton An honest, insightful, intelligent read, which is a reminder that we never can tell who is suffering.  It’s a positive book which reminds us all to slow down and look after ourselves.

Elanor Oliphant, is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman– A chick flick, with humour and purpose.  It’s about a 30 something girl, and her humdrum existence.  So far I am enjoying this book, it’s a great escapism from reality, and I am loving her quirky character already.


Box Sets

We all love a binge watch. I have given myself a set amount of ‘healthy binge time’ a day during recovery, as I love it, but my brain aches after a while and not in a good way.  If you’re needing a new tv binge, the following I found impossible to turn off;

  • The Jinx – The life of Robert Durst – A crime documentary with a twist, if you haven’t seen it. You need to.
  • Big Little Lies – Girl power at its best.
  • Line of duty – An extremely intense who done it, who doesn’t love one of those.

 Although I still feel like I am the only human who’s yet to watch Game of Thrones. Am I missing out…


Research that Business idea

Remember that business idea you said you never had enough time to look into, or research. Well those two hours a day you just just spent watching repeats of ‘friends’ or facebook scrolling, take an hour out and read a business book, jot ideas down, make a mood board.  This is something I do once a week at the moment and want to do a lot more of.


Be Creative 

Draw, write, paint, make something, do anything you enjoy, it does wonders for the mind.  I am currently printing off all my favourite photos into a scrap book/ album. I no longer want the majority of the photos I own to be on Facebook and not in my home. Its strangely therapeutic and relaxing creating your own photo album.


Wall Art

Buy or create a print or a motivational quote that means something to you and frame it. I have put one above my sofa, seeing as that’s the place at the moment that I tend to have my many ‘I cant do it’ moments. So this was the perfect place to hang up a little motivational reminder for me.


Create a Mood Board

Go onto Pinterest and create your own mood board of anything you are interested in. Whether it’s new recipes you want to try, decor, fashion, travel.   I am moving home in a couple of months, so my mood board is made up of new decor ideas for our new place. There are so many pretty things on Pinterest and, amazing ideas to feel inspired.


Meditate

UNPLUG. Turn off phones, radio, TV, and relax.  I have been doing this every night during my physiotherapy exercises, I set the scene by lighting my favourite incense, playing calming music, (ocean or spa music is my favourite,) and I take some deep breaths. I always feel good after and now I can’t imagine not doing this as part of my evening routine. Try it, if you don’t already. Give your brain some time out. It will thank you.


And of course, carry on doing what works for you, what you enjoy to do on your lazy days off, but if like me without realising it, you had been caught up in bad habits for so long, not realising why your feeling fed up, bored or sluggish, after what was planned to be a ‘perfect lazy day in’. Then try some new things.  Now that I am aware of my bad habits, that have been hijacking my happiness. I’m making better choices on my recovery days, and taking better care of my mind.

So I’m off, to turn off my phone, put on some new pjs, light some candles, eat a giant chocolate bar, and sink into a new book.

What are you doing for your mind this weekend ? xx

 

Are you a negative Nancy or a positive Poppy today……?

Turning negatives into positives.

I remember working in the country side, It was a mild-march morning, a Tuesday and I’d arrived at work for 8am.  As I approached the long cobbled lane, I’d see a glimpse of the beautiful old building I worked in, the lushness’ of green country views and playful lambs. I felt grateful for mild march mornings, the never-ending views, working in an old historic building and the smell of flowers all around.

Week two. It was a mild March morning, a Tuesday, I arrived at work for 8 am, I drove up the same cobbled lane, I saw an old bleak building, dull flat views, I felt the cold breeze of a mild march morning, and the animals looked glum. I didn’t notice the flowers.

Same time. Same place. Same views. Different mind-set.

I’ve always been an analyser and an over thinker.  Both a curse and a blessing.  The positives that come with being an over thinker are; they tend to be creative people, problem solvers, and more thoughtful. I can relate to this, as I weigh up how others may feel a lot, I’ve also been told I’m insightful and intuitive in my work.   But the not so great side of this, is struggling with unhelpful and negative thoughts,  and over analysing the smallest of situations. I struggled with this for years.       

As a teen I would apply for a new exciting job, spend hours researching the company, shopping for the perfect interview outfit.  The night before I would become so anxious my brain would run riot with thoughts, which would usually conclude in, ‘’There was just no point in me going to that interview. ’’

Another example of over thinking,  I would see an old work friend in the street, Rather than naturally saying hello. I’d think, should I say hello? Does she even like me? Do I smile or just ignore her, encase she doesn’t smile back at me?   Over thinkers will relate.  Simple tasks, become not so simple.  I’m not sure when this changed, maybe my self esteem grew, maybe being around more positive people helped, or years of battling the negative thoughts, I finally won.

But these past couple of weeks, I’m post surgery and learning to walk again with (broken) leg and new alignment, negative thoughts have tried to creep back in.  I don’t like playing the victim or complaining like a martyr, but we all know that when you’re in a place of pain and sadness, you can become immersed in your own world.  I know life’s not all rainbows and butterflies,  I’m not Mary Poppins, the world is full of negativity and injustice, I see most of it everyday in my work.  But when my own unhealthy thought pattern, can weigh me down, both mentally and physically, and affects others round me. I know I need to do something to change my mind-set, ( before It grips tighter). 

So, I thought I’d write a list of the re-occurring negative thoughts Iv been having this week, and try and give them a spin, a better way of looking at things. First Thought;


           I can’t bear the idea of people having to care and do so many small things for me.

Try and enjoy being waited on – Your own chef, cleaner ?  That would be bliss to many people.


It is so much time off work, I’ll go stir crazy, they may replace me.  I’m going to lose my mind sitting here.  

Finally the opportunity to investigate that business idea you’ve always wanted to explore. Time to get into that new series you always complained you had no time to start. Get productive.


What if it goes wrong, what if I cant walk again, what if I’m worse off from deciding on having this operation.

Don’t meet trouble half way- Keep focusing on how far you’ve come. You’re  doing great.


I’m no where near as far as that girl, I can’t lift, I can’t bend, I cannot move, I can’t manage- I’m failing already.

Don’t compare, it is not a race, you’re doing your best. Keep going.


I can’t cope with this pain I can’t do it, it’s too hard learning to walk again, just cut this stupid leg off, I’ll never manage it.

Well you have no choice, so get on with it, pain doesn’t last forever . Don’t be ungrateful for your leg ( tough self-love)


 

You may feel a bit nuts at first writing down your own battling thoughts, but give it a go, surgery related or not.  Trying to think more positive isn’t about pretending you’re never ever in pain, or that you’re  never in a negative mood. Without the pain and the sadness, we would have nothing to compare the good times with. We need a balance.  But trying to overcome unhelpful, negative thoughts, its about giving yourself a better chance of a good day.

It feels better to now be the girl who smiled at that old friend……

than be the girl who didn’t smile back x

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How comparing will steal your joy .

Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game, which brings you little, to no joy.  Luckily, Iv never been one to feel envy or competitiveness in everyday life.  But since my operation just 6 days ago, Iv found myself worrying profusely, where I should be, at this stage of recovery, in comparison to others.  I think it began at the hospital, when the nurse told me on day 1 ” You should be using your crutches, not me supporting your leg you know”  whilst I sat crying in pain, as it was the first time I had moved since the operation.  At this point I hadn’t even seen a physiotherapist to show me how to use crutches safely, so she was wrong,  but I still worried about the words  ”should be.”   On day 3 I felt extreme nausea from the pain and the physiotherapist said, ” You should be lifting your leg alone, as your going home today.”  And I thought should I ?!  Well I couldn’t.  On the day I was discharged  I felt wobbly and sick, which is obviously expected, Id just had my leg broken and screwed back together.   But on arriving home, using crutches, one wrong move, and I felt my leg give way from under me, I hit the pavement.  Iv never felt pain like it.  And as I laid in the street, I thought ” You should be doing better than this ”

So it hasn’t been the best of weeks, but of course no first post surgery week ever is.  But to make matters worse when I got home and recovered from the fall,  I spent most of my time looking online at others who have had this operation, ( a TTT & MPFL reconstruction) to see what stage they were at by day 5.  Yes this is great for guidance, advice and support, but the direct comparisons made me feel awful.   I had others telling me how high they could lift their leg by day 3, or how far they could bend it on day 4, when I was finding both IMPOSSIBLE to do. 

My mood dropped, I felt anxious, sad.  I had done that to myself.

When you compare your journey to someone else’s, you instantly set yourself up to feel unhappy, But I’ve woken up today with a clearer mind and with a vow to start over.   I have learnt from this. And I know learning to walk again in an alignment my leg has never been since birth, is going to be strange, painful and slow. I understand that my lack of patience and comparing,  is really just a fear that I wont get to where I want to be. Which I will.  Maybe not as soon as ‘Sue’ and her bendy leg.  But I’ll get there.

So whether you find yourself comparing your surgery recovery, your mental health recovery, that new mums waist line to yours, or just the place you are in, in life.   When you catch yourself doing this. STOP.  And tell yourself, we are all on our own journeys, at our own pace, and as long as we are trying our best to reach our own realistic goals, then that’s all we can do.


A better focus is on what you are already blessed with, and how far you have actually come.  As I mentioned last Sunday, Sundays are a great time to re-energise, reflect and re focus.  Looking at both what you have achieved, and that you are grateful for, no matter how bad the week has been, (just look a little harder.)   This week for me, I

Achieved;

Going through with an operation that I have put off since the age of 17.

I managed to walk to the bathroom on crutches (no brace) on day 2, which on day 1, I never thought I would do.

I managed to bounce back from a nasty fall quite quickly.

I haven’t cried today (so far)


Grateful for;

My boyfriend –  So far he’s been my rock, carer, chef, cleaner and my best friend.

My friends and family – For the cards, support and little pick me ups. I am aware of what a privilege this is.

The kindness of strangers – When I fell in the street, two strangers helped my boyfriend carry me to my sofa, they couldn’t bend my leg and I was making no sense, so it was very slow and they were so patient and kind.

Peppermint tea and ginger biscuits – Try these for nausea. God send.

My kitten –  Despite trying to jump near my leg, the one place she shouldn’t, she means well, and her little morning purrs have made me smile.


So give it a go yourself,  put pen to paper, and if you to, have been comparing your journey to others, then start over today.  Remember a flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. 

It just blooms. x

A Sunday Well Spent…..

One minute your enjoying your weekend, thinking that brunching and browsing shops for new candles and cakes is now your full time job,  next your hit with the realisation that tomorrow its back to the grind of working life.  Dread hits.  Between the ups and downs of work, kids, duties, life, Sunday nights are the perfect time for most, to re-energise and think about the week ahead, to feel organised and prepared for whats in store. All great. But the truth is we are so busy moving onto the next ‘thing to do’, overwhelming our heads with worries of what the week entails, that we rarely slow down and reflect on whats just been or appreciate the now.  So with that in mind, I’m going to make Sundays my day that I reflect on my week just gone, write down what I have achieved (no matter how small it is), and more importantly what I am grateful for.  I am always on a quest to include new habits into my life that can improve my mood, so I believe doing this will increase a more positive mindset, decrease anxieties  and diminish for some that dreaded Sunday night feeling.

When we have a busy week ahead, or an early start, ( or like me an operation ) these thoughts can overwhelm us, make us feel tense and lower our moods, so then its really easy to lose sight of everything we have to be grateful for.  So even if your feeling low, worried or anxious, struggling to find the positives, still write these things down tonight, (fake it till you make it,) as these practices will eventually in time help lift your mood.

I was lucky enough this weekend to have my friends arrange me a ”new knee, new me ” Lunch. Go for pancakes in Brighton and spend some time puppy sitting :).  So as I sit here full from lunch, content from my day, and ready for my Sunday night ritual of bath, face mask, book and bed…. I thought i’d put pen to paper and reflect on my week  just gone. 

Achieved- 

  • I walked along Brighton/Hove Beach, I was aching after and pretty sore, but I managed one last, long walk, before my operation as I had hoped.
  • A glowing appraisal at work ( go me )
  • I walked past 3 cake shops today and didn’t go in and buy any ( big for me anyway)

Grateful – 

  • I am grateful for living by the sea.
  • I am grateful for supportive friends who have made, what could have been an anxious weekend, a really positive one.
  • I am grateful for all the thoughtful gifts that I received, for post surgery (Is it my birthday ?!)
  • I am grateful for the man who works in ”No where man” coffee shop in Brighton, for making the best pancakes I have ever had.
  • I am grateful I have my health ( despite the operation, ) as I know how tough others have things.
  • I am grateful for a warm, clean, happy home.

So enjoy your Sunday night, light some candles, enjoy a long bath, put on a face mask, and reflect on the week just gone. What are you grateful for this week?

Happy Sunday-ing x

 

 

 

 

A little light ……

Depression-

Majority of us will have experienced this in some form, whether its having it yourself, knowing someone who’s had it, or feel you have dipped your toe into it from time to time but never fully slipped.

I wanted to fill this blog full of positive messages and positive feelings, as I want others to feel good when they read it and motivated to take care of themselves when facing challenges.  But I am also aware of how patronising it is to tell someone who is going through depression to “think positive”, “happiness is there for you” or “appreciate what you have.”  As when you are in that place, you do want to think positive, you do appreciate those around you, but you are just living in your head so much, that you may not show it, and you would do anything to feel happy again.  But that murky, heavy cloud just feels like its over powering and will never lift.   It’s a feeling of despair and darkness, that if you are going through this right now….I’m so sorry you are there…but I promise you will see some light again.

I remember not knowing I had depression, I would feel quite an angry person and agitated over the smallest of things.  I would be up and down throughout the day, and feel like everything was far too difficult, whilst battling constant thoughts of self doubt.  But then I could go out with my friends, get drunk, and laugh, so I couldn’t be depressed if I could do that?!   Well I could.  It started as what I called “walking depression”, I went to work, met friends, faked smiles, but I didn’t feel right, but I wasn’t sure why.   I couldn’t shift the flat feeling and that I saw gloom everywhere,  not all day, but in parts throughout.  I remember being at work and saying to a colleague, “I need to do something fun, something big, as I just don’t feel anything ” And nope,  I still didn’t know then the reason I was so numb.  That was when I went on to do everything BIG and reckless, to feel something, which obviously ended in despair and a deeper depression. NOW I knew I had depression !!

I remember reading my messages on our friends group chat, Sam was talking about a new lamp she really wanted for her newly decorated living room, Fran mentioned a new top she had seen in Top shop she was dying to buy.  And I thought, Seriously?  How can these people care about a bloody lamp, or get any pleasure from buying a new top.  I couldn’t care less about a lamp or understand how this was making them feel anything?  I felt like a zombie.

But I did remember feeling joy over those small things once, I used to enjoy Wednesdays, Wednesday was magazine day,  I’d treat myself to a new magazine, a chocolate bar and some flowers for my home. A little ritual that brought me some joy on my lunch break.  I remember my sister mentioning she had noticed that, I hadn’t done this in some time. And come to think of it, she was right.   It had been five months.   I had stopped doing the little things, as I had been living in my head, and I felt that those small things no longer brought me any joy.

Id say it took over a year to fight depression away, and god I fought it, I tried mindfulness, exercise, therapy, self help books, happy diaries, medication ….name it I did it. I wanted to feel normal again.

Anyone going through depression for the first time wondering what the hell your going to do, well your going to do great… your going to win…and your going to feel joy again….just take all the small steps, being kind to yourself, still pushing yourself to do those small things and you’ll get there. And then one day those small things, that once brought you joy, will again.

Our generation, being more open about mental health and being more aware, is massive. It means were not alone, and now when I feel it lurking, I can nip it in the bud before it takes over that far again.   I recognise it now. I know what it is. And I know its not who I am, but something I suffer from.

Saying that, I’m a realist and with surgery looming, I know it can come back at any time, but next time, I’ll be ready, I have the tools and I’ll be much more prepared.

But for now, Its Wednesday…. its magazine day xx

Preparing your, Mind . Body . Soul

Third night in a row waking up at 5.30 am. Why do our brains insist on waking us up with thoughts we do not need at stupid o clock.  This time my brain decided to wake me up to have a little chat, ”What will you do if you wake up in so much pain after your operation and there is no one around?” . ”What if your recovery takes much longer or it all goes horribly wrong?”  Suddenly i’m wide awake, heart racing.  Thanks for that brain. 

With only a week till surgery, I know some anxiety is perfectly normal.  The mere thought of surgery is often very scary.  The thought of a stranger cutting your body open taps into a primal fear. And the anticipation of surgery is so full of uncertainty and possible problems, physically, financially and emotionally,  so its natural for our minds to explore all these avenues.  But stress does not aid the healing process and we all want to go into anything difficult in life in the best possible fame of mind and health. 

The body is more than the sum of its parts, Mind, Body, Soul means that our well-being comes not just from being physically fit, but from our mental health and soul too.  And to be healthier all round humans, we must pay attention to all three aspects.  Recently my head is on a roll, alert, over stimulated, full of big ideas, ready to take on the day (at 5.30 am). My body is dragging behind asking do we really need to walk anywhere, feeling heavy and sluggish.   And my soul is feeling a little flat at times.  The Key….to find some balance.

This can help not just those preparing for surgery but for any human in any challenging situation.  


MIND

Start the day differently;  I feel like my working week days can sometimes start over stimulated with too much information, reaching over for my phone to check emails, messages, scrolling through social media, putting on the TV to watch the end of that programme from last night while I eat breakfast. I want to give my mind a break this week. I owe it that.  So this week my mornings will start with just a drink, some silence and love.

Face the Fears; Whether its Surgery, worries or anything big you have coming up, it can be terrifying, in can take over your mind and replay on a loop, while we try desperately to fight the thoughts away.  But its best to accept your reality, face your fears and WHEN you feel them, let them simply ‘run you over like a train. ‘  Then you will see,  nothing actually happens. All fear wants is to be acknowledged, its worked before with other situations, so I will now do the same with surgery fears. 

Change night time routine;  Iv let this slip recently and I know the full benefits of having a better routine for my mind before bed. Over stimulation with technology before bed, and reading up on operations is not the answer for a peaceful nights sleep.  So this week I will be more disciplined. Reading before bed, listening to an audio book or just relaxing in silence.  


BODY

Exercise;  Do what you can. Whether its stretching in your living room, yoga, walking round the block, or going to the gym. I cant do much as my knee’s are in a lot of pain after long walks, but I can stretch in the mornings, I can go for short walks along the seafront, get in what you can before surgery.  Your body will thank you. 

Eat healthy;  As much as I would love to order pizza all week and stuff my face with chocolate, I know my body needs as much goodness before surgery and during. Following a nutritious diet is important for everyday health. but If you are preparing for surgery, a healthy diet is even more important, getting the right nutrients can boost your immune system and help heal faster.  The blender is on the go as I write and I have a list of new smoothies and healthy soups I want to try. Yum. 

Holistic Health;  Iv stocked up on vitamins, herbal teas, ”Positivitea- Elderflower and Chamomile” is my favourite, manuka honey, turmeric paste, turmeric Latte’s, ( helps inflammation ) herbal sleeping aids. Basically Holland and Barrett is my best friend. 


SOUL 

Having a more positive, optimistic outlook;   I know this is one I will have to refer back to many times when times are tough and I’m unable to get about. But this week, every time I have a thought about the things this surgery will effect for me, or the things I am going to be unable to do, i.e walk, be outside, be independent.  I will take 30 seconds to imagine how I expect to feel when recovered, visualise walking, hiking, dancing and the prospects this surgery will have for my future. (And no one likes a martyr) 

Practice Relaxation techniques;

  • deep breathing
  • meditation
  • listening to a playlist that soothes you.
  • Reading.

Distraction;  Ok, we have faced the reality and faced the fears, but no one wants to sit around thinking about something they are dreading. So organise something nice for yourself,  plan some thing with friends for the week before, have fun, go shopping.  I decided to go shopping, yes I bought the boring bits, shower chair, bath stool ( I wont bore you with those pictures), but seeing as i’l be in hospital for 4 nights and then unable to leave my home for 6-8 weeks, a girl needs some nice night dresses.   Primark and Topshop do some lovely bits, if like me you cant wear trousers for some time, these long night -tees are perfect. 

Who said buying things for surgery is boring.


 

Everyone has their own way of finding balance between their body and mind. No journey is the same.  But In life we would prepare for a wedding, a job interview, a physical competition, to get in the right frame of mind and health. So why not prepare for a major surgery, recovery or major challenge too. 

Keep your body fuelled, your mind healthy, and keep dreaming of all the big and wonderful things that are to come on your road to healing x 

 

Lets Start as we mean to go on…..

The last week or so id say iv been fine, not great, but pretty good, but if you asked my boyfriend I doubt he would describe me as a glowing positive light to be around.   I can tell when i’m starting to feel anxious, as cushions out of place can overly bug me, my boyfriends shoes being in the wrong place, makes me consider moving in with our next door neighbour, and despite knowing that the kitchen table doesn’t need cleaning again, I will, for the third time that day.   See I had overwhelmed myself with thoughts, worries and tasks that I needed to do, so it all took over a tad. 

Luckily I recognise it, so I paused, re focused and told myself to slow down, and take care of myself.   So apart from cleaning the house again, I did a few other things to re centre;

De-cluttered– Its amazing what throwing out old items, bagging up clothes for charity shops, and throwing away that box you said would be used for make up but never was, can do for the mind. 

Unplugged – I turned off my phone, turned off the TV and started a new book.  And enjoyed it.

Self Care Box- I made myself a self care box- I know the trigger for my anxiety was the amount of things I needed to do before surgery in the next couple of weeks, and of course the dread of having my leg sawn in half- as it doesn’t sound much fun.  So I made myself a box to come home to, everyone should have one. Whether its physical or mental challenges, our soul needs it.  See it as an emergency first Aid box for your emotions. 

Here’s some Ideas to fill your box with;

  • New Pyjamas – Fresh, new pyjamas from River Island will make me feel brand new.
  • Incense, Candles & Lavender Room spray – Creating a calming space is great for the mind and soul.
  • Chocolate- Because it makes everyone happy.
  • A Journal – A note pad, journal, something to write down anything you feel. 
  • Healthy Tea– Try a soothing tea , ‘Positivitea’  with Elderflower & Blueberry. So good.
  • Bath /Shower Gel- I cant bathe after surgery, bath salts would have been my go to. Instead I bought a new sweet smelling Ted Baker wash. Smells Amazing. 
  • New fluffy socks – As they feel nice and January is bloody cold. 
  • Mindfulness Colouring in– These really calm the mind for me .
  •  A New Book – Distract the mind with a good book, Iv chosen Fearne cottons new book ‘Happy’
  •  Eye Mask and Ear Plugs – Because a good sleep makes the world of difference. 

Just doing those few things made a world of difference.   Self care is so easy, yet we all forget to take care of ourselves.  We worry more about our goals, achievements, work load, that we forget to just slow down and ask ourselves if were actually happy.

So going forward in January,  for 30 days. I challenge us all to do one thing a day to benefit, your mind, body and soul;


30 Day Self Care Challenge 

1- Go for a Long Walk.

2- Watch a documentary – I recommend the ‘ Impostor’ or ‘The Jinx’.

3- Stretch in the mornings.

4- Sit in silence, no TV, no phone, for 15 minutes before you start your day.

5-Start a new book.

6-Have a candle lit bath.

7- Book a massage or a treatment.

8- Write, draw, Paint, colour- Be creative.

9- De-clutter your home.

10- Call someone you love to check in on them.

11- Clear out your make up bag.

12- Splurge a little, treat yourself to that new top, shoes or thing you have your eye on.

13- Arrange a catch up with some friends.

14- Ask for help-Big or small, reach out to others.

15- Download a new podcast or audio book.

16- Hug a loved one, pet or a friend. 

17- Help others, carry a bag, open a door, offer your help, listen, offer advice. 

18-Put on clean new bed sheets.

19- Unplug for an hour, no phone, no TV. and just talk. 

20-  Have a lie in. Because you deserve one. 

21- Exercise, gym ,run, swim, walk, what ever you can manage. 

22- Laugh with a friend, message or call the friend who never fails to make you smile.

23- Watch a comedy- Micky Flanagan’s Stand up comedy never fails to lighten my mood. 

24- Cook a new recipe -Try something new.

25- Try a new hobby or practice your hobby you’ve been neglecting.

26- Practice Meditation 

27- Change up your home, move things around, put out new pictures, change up your space. 

28- Complete that annoying task you keep putting off.

29- Write down 10 things you are grateful for. 

30- Slow down and take some deep breaths.

Using this list see how many of these you can tick off by the end of January, and then take note of the difference you feel.

Make your ONLY goal this January be, to go from burnt out…….to balanced. xx

 

 

 

Bad Habits die hard …..

I hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas, it came and went so quickly, but now that Christmas is over and the new year is around the corner, its time to reflect and think about what we hope for in this coming year. I really don’t like the phrase ‘new years resolutions’ but i’m all for self improvement and growing as a person, so instead i’m going to look at some bad habits I would like to break next year and some good habits I will continue doing.

Bad habit number 1 – Stop Over committing myself 

Us humans love to talk about how stressed we are, and we are, we have stressful jobs, juggle many roles and we have endless to do lists.   Although some stress is productive, i’m pretty sick of hearing myself say ‘I’m stressed, I’m so tired.”  when asked how I am.  As actually sometimes we can and do create our own stress. We want to ensure our life is full of meaningful activities and we do not want to miss out on anything, AND we want to get everything right.

I did a lot in 2017 and although I am very grateful for that,  I also felt unnecessary stress in parts, so those activities actually felt a little less meaningful.  I over committed myself to places I needed to be, events I should book up, ( I even attended a gig with my knee in a brace, in pain, in fear of missing out- more stress then it was worth). I agreed to jobs and took on things that were not even my job role, that others had not cared to do.  

So in 2018, I intend, and not in selfish way, but to learn to take back my own time, learn when to say yes or no.  To understand I do not need to go to everything for my life to feel meaningful and full, and I intend to share the load, rather than take on too much. 

I no longer want to create my own stress.

Bad Habit number 2 – Buying a coffee when i dont need it

I love coffee and finding new coffee shops, so I wont be stopping this one entirely, but I do know my own body and I know that sometimes a coffee can make me feel more anxious, hyper, nervous and then crash and I feel a lot worse.  I need to break the habit of buying a coffee just because its on my way home, i’m not even tired, or thirsty, so did i need that coffee on the way home that now has me bouncing off the walls?! Probably not.  So I intend to break the habit….and cut down. 

Bad Habit Number 3 – Not adding Self Care into my work Schedule

I am a big believer in self care and at home I practice self care when ever I feel I need it. But when I am in work mode, I really don’t. I work with vulnerable teenagers, who are amazing, but very demanding of me.  I am passionate about what I do, but its long hours and I sometimes forget that I can stop for a minute, and do something for myself.  

This doesn’t mean to be lazy or unproductive, but I need to make a promise to myself that I will take time to recuperate, recenter, and refocus.  That way, I can give back more and make more of an impact with the young people I work with.  This can be anything from a walk on a lunch break, some quiet time, stopping on a long drive, making enough time for a healthy lunch and a cup of tea, just slowing down and refocusing.   I think we should all be making sure we are adding self-care into our work schedules, whether that is as a parent, at an office or physical work, and not letting anything take away from that time.

I was once told ” Don’t exhaust yourself for a job that if you died, would replace you in a week” Bit morbid, but you get my point. Your emotional well being and physical health comes first, as it is ourselves who face the consequences from not looking after it.

Bad Habit number 4 – Moaning at my boyfriend.

Oh come on, I cant help it, he should think to do things more so I don’t have to moan, but i’l try and moan a little less…..maybe. No one likes a moaning Myrtle. 

Bad Habit number 5 – Going on my phone instead of concentrating on that book.

I love books, I have so many books, I hear great reviews about a new book and off I go to purchase it, day dreaming on the way home of me curled up on the sofa, with a hot drink and my new amazing book that is going to have me gripped.  REALITY- Three pages later, I’m sat on my phone scrolling through pages on Instagram, chatting to friends who are probably fine to wait for me to finish this chapter of the book. Its an awful habit and one i’m sure many can relate to. Its a habit I’m determined to break…… as soon as I finish writing this post. 

Habits I will continue in 2018 

Practising gratitude.

Putting myself out there.

Learning.

Enjoying where I am at.

Being Productive and Positive.

Facing Fears.

Supporting my friends.

Spending time with those I love.

The year feels fresh and new and we all have these intentions of being this perfect person again this year.  But instead of setting yourself huge goals that are hard to reach, set yourself some kinder intentions and remember to look at all the great habits you do have and great things that you do…..and continue to do so.

The rest will follow. 

Happy New Year x

 

 

A little Thanks …..

 

I have a real love hate relationship with social media, I think mainly from working with teenagers and seeing it’s negative effects on the next generation. Photo -shopped images magnifying self esteem issues, the dangers it can bring, the worlds it can open up for the vulnerable and cyber bullying. But used right, it does also have its huge advantages, learning, sharing information, its amazing access to unreachable people, encouraging one another and supporting one another with our relate-able experiences.  For those people who feel alone, this can sometimes be a life saver.

This blog was started as an outlet, a supportive hand to others and an excuse to be creative, with surgery lurking it was a good base to record my progression.  That said I do not want to spend my time only writing about surgery or putting up pictures of knees, knees are boring, surgery is a big deal but it’s boring. To me a recovery of any kind, is to record challenges, positive thinking, journeys of self improvement, but also to share the things that make me happy on a day to day basis to stay present and grateful. And in turn hopefully others can take some positive feelings away too.  

But this blog was also a chance to seek out others who have had this particular operation  (tibial tubercle transfer ) or similar, and to receive advice from others in similar boats.  From doing so, it reminded me how kind us humans can be.  Of course nothing beats the support and love from those who know us, but as suffering is universal almost all of us have felt joy and pain, the particular details may be unique, but we can all relate to others and us humans have a real empathy for those who are battling something we once endured ourselves. Whether its heart break, a mental health condition, loss, an addiction, or a major surgery, we want others to not feel alone. We offer advice, tips and support to strangers, because we can relate to their situation . We have a new surge of empathy as we have been there. 

The feelings we experience as a result of social networking can also serve as a reminder that we are not alone in any challenge we face. They are shared by all human beings on their own personal challenges too.

From writing this blog I have had some great advice to take on board, ready for my recovery, so I just wanted to share some of that advice in hope it can aid others in recovery or those who have a major surgery coming up.

Advice; 

1) Listen to your Doctor and Physio everything he has to say and everything they suggest to do! I can not stress this enough.

2) Before the operation Clean the house, de-clutter, throw out things you don’t need, prep meals – Do anything that will cause you anxiety you can’t do after surgery.

3) This surgery is a BIG DEAL continue to seek out support from others who have had this surgery for motivation during recovery.

4) Fight through the pain as getting up and moving your ankle also is important -And try and strengthen your good leg before hand. it will be worth it.

5) ICE ICE ICE ICE

6) “You can finally watch the Kardashians from the start while you recover ” ( Not to sure about that one – but thanks Danni)

7) Follow instructions , Take it easy and keep on top of pain medication – it’s easier to mange the pain then to bring the pain back down again .

8) Remember it’s not a sprint it’s a marathon – Document your progress to keep yourself motivated .

9) Make the most of being looked after – prepare to cry and be stressed as it’s a long recovery but stay calm and relax and enjoy being waited on.

10) Try and focus on the things that you CAN do rather than those that you can’t – Arm weights etc

11) As it’s bone work, Ask for a nerve block- Stay on your medication – Do not get discouraged when learning to walk again,  Ask for mobilegs crutches. Much more comfortable.

12) Invest in an electric ice machine , shower chair and shower stool. All life savers. Good luck.

13) Buy the book ” Kitchen table by Dr Rachel Naomi Remember . Great for anyone going through any health challenges and it helped me immensely on my health challenge.

14) Physio is the key to the success of this operation, do not give up, stop or be lazy, your end results will depend on this.  Keep going. Good luck. 

Thank you for all your kind words and advice – It has taken me years to get in the right mindset for surgery, so all of your positive stories and taking time out to give  tips and advice, has helped me stay motivated.  And I hope this will be useful for others also.

So anytime you feel the desire to give a hug, a gift, a smile, a kind word or … just some relate-able advice to a stranger, but you think it makes no difference, or that you don’t have time.

Do it.

As it matters. More than you could ever know. X